2016: A Year in Review

This year has been a busy year for With Open Eyes. If you visit our Facebook page, you’ll see some of the amazing stats that we’ve shared. We hope that you will praise the Lord with us for all that He has done in the last few years. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude.

But today, I want to share one aspect of the ministry we don’t talk about all that often. Our humanitarian efforts. These efforts to help the underserved and unreached in our world came from the heart of our co-founder, James Harrison. He would constantly tell his dad, “We need to do something to help these people.” Humanitarian work and support was his heart. Read more

Chris Tomlin & Louie Giglio in Mobile, AL – 2.26

We are thrilled to be a part of the Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio event. We will have a great opportunity to share the story of With Open Eyes to everyone who attends. Please pray that God will use this special night in a powerful way to all who attend.  Read more

Charlotte Magazine Highlights With Open Eyes Ministry

The following article is featured in the November issue of Myers Park Magazine.

By Jerri Webb and Lisa Cope



Leaving can be a hard thing to do. Stepping out of our comfort zone and fully trusting God to accomplish things in us that we never thought possible is a chance we don’t always take. But something changes when we say “yes” and GO. Which is what we did. On our June departure day, as our mission team gathered at Charlotte-Douglas airport, we tried to muster up confidence that we really could be used by God to make a difference in Africa. It wasn’t our plan to paint walls or repair roofs. Our plan was to change hearts: to bring hope and joy.

Our team of 10 women from Charlotte headed to Kenya on  behalf of With Open Eyes (WOE), a global mission organization dedicated to transforming lives with the hope of Jesus Christ. WOE’s purpose is to equip indigenous pastors with transportation and other resources needed to bring the message of God’s love to previously unreachable areas around the globe. This ministry began because a young man named James Harrison harbored a great compassion for these African people. So much so that he eventually moved from the comfort and ease of Charlotte to live among those in South Sudan who desperately need help. In 2008, the “Mobile Messenger” program was launched. Today, WOE has equipped over 200 pastors with motorbikes to reach frontier areas of East Africa, and over 100 more pastors are in training.

We never fully realized the significance of a motorbike…until we went.

As we traveled from village to village ministering to women and children, we saw the poor traveling conditions. The motorbikes are truly a lifeline between pastors and remote, rural communities which lack basic human needs, including the message of hope found through Christ. We were amazed to see the difference that just one motorbike can make.

Following the path of a mobile messenger, our first stop was a school in the village of Wote. The large group of children began singing a welcome song as we approached, and their faces lit up as we greeted them, sang songs and shared Bible stories. Some with bare feet and others in ill-fitting clothes, these children have so little. Yet, their faces shone with beautiful, shy smiles.

We then traveled to the small villages of Kitui and Ngengeka. In dirt-floored churches that were established through the work of WOE, we prayed and worshipped together, encouraged one another and held two outdoor crusades. As the villagers gathered, we sensed their hunger, not for food, but for the nourishment we were offering through God’s word. The crowds listened so intently. Hearts were being changed as men, women and children gathered with mobile messengers to pray. We celebrated. As we danced with the Kenyan people, beautiful smiles spread across their faces. (We think mostly because they were so entertained by our awkward attempts to dance like them!) They felt special and loved, and we did too. We walked slowly back to our
vans, as crowds of children encircled us with newly lifted spirits. Some of them had just met Jesus for the first time.

Our team saw firsthand how putting faith into action is transformative. Emily Cope, age 14 and the youngest member of our team, brought along a guitar. She was immediately embraced by the Kenyan people, and it was beautiful to watch how God used the willing heart of a teen from Charlotte to help lead worship through music. “The experience made an imprint on my heart that will never go away,” says Emily, a student at Myers Park High School.

Dr. Jane Harrell, a Charlotte physician and Foxcroft resident, spent time with teens answering questions, mostly relating to pregnancy and STDs. Women also were offered one-on-one time with her to discuss health concerns and then were prayed for by team members. As Dr. Harrell recalls, “It’s hard to describe our trip to Kenya because God is too big and too awesome for words. I left home with an odd peace that I was supposed to be a part of the WOE team, but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle remote Africa, emotionally or physically. I was speechless with tears and awe as I met with Kenyan women and teenagers and they shared their dreams and fears. Their complaints were common ones and illustrated that we are ALL the same…no matter what country, male or female, living in poverty or wealth, black or white…we are all broken and in search of God’s grace. I needed Africa more than it needed me, and I was given more hope and encouragement than I left behind.”

On the long flight home, we pondered this unlikely scenario we’d just experienced where our lives intersected with our African brothers and sisters. As Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19-20,“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end.”

We are so glad we said “YES.”

The original article can be read here.

Missions Team


Mchicha East African Spinach


Great new twist on cooking spinach for us Americans! If you are doing Paleo or eating clean, this is a great recipe. Try it out and let us know what you think.   Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves: 4-6 Ingredients:

  1. Place spinach and salt in a heavy 4-5 quart casserole.
  2. Cover tightly and cook over medium heat until spinach is tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain spinach, squeezing it completely dry a handful at a time.
  4. Chop coarsely and set aside.
  5. Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat.
  6. Add onions and chilies and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in coconut milk and peanuts and bring to a simmer over moderate heat.
  8. Reduce heat to its lowest point.
  9. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, 2-3 minutes.
  10. Add spinach and cook until heated through, 4-5 minutes more.

Recipe courtesy of food.com

Kenyan Green Banana Fries


Looking for a healthier alternative to french fries? Try this simple and delicious recipe from Kenya.

  • 5 small unripe (green) bananas

  • 1 quart oil for frying, or as needed

  • salt to taste


  1. Peel the bananas using a knife, as they are not ripe and will not peel like a yellow banana. Slice into long thin wedges or strings to make fries.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy deep skillet over medium-high heat. If you have a deep-fryer, heat the oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place the banana fries into the hot oil, and fry until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oil, and drain on paper towels. Pat off the excess oil, and season with salt. Serve immediately.


Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com


East African Roast Chicken


4 -4 1/2 lbs roasting chickens
2 tablespoons butter, softened plus extra
butter, for basting
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
4 tablespoons thick coconut milk
4 tablespoons medium-dry sherry
1 teaspoon tomato puree
salt, and
chili powder, to taste

Remove the giblets from the chicken, if necessary, rinse out the cavity and pat the skin dry.
Put the butter and all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix together well to form a thick paste.
Gently ease the skin of the chicken away from the flesh and rub generously with the herb and butter mixture. Rub more of the mixture over the skin, legs and wings of the chicken and into the neck cavity.
Place the chicken in a roasting tin, cover loosely with foil and marinate overnight in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 375F/190°C.
Cover the chicken with clean foil and roast for 1 hour, then turn the chicken over and baste with the pan juices.
Cover again with foil and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and place the chicken breast-side up. Rub with a little extra butter and roast for a further 10-15 minutes until the meat juices run clear and the skin is golden brown.
Serve with a rice dish or a salad.
Prep Time: 24 Hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Recipe courtesy of food.com


This Father’s Day, Give the Gift that Keeps on Giving

Father’s Day is just around the corner and what dad doesn’t want a motorcycle. 

This Father’s Day, give the long awaited gift to help fund a motorcycle that will carry a Mobile Messenger carving out new paths to remote villages in areas where Jesus’ name has never been heard or spoken. We currently have 100 pastors on the waiting list for transportation, ready to go out and share the Gospel!

Give a gift today in honor of your dad or husband as the perfect way to express how much you love and admire him. A Father’s Day gift that keeps on giving each day and for years to come.

All for Him,

Drew Harding, Executive Director




Basboosa – Easy Sudanese Cake Recipe

Basboosa is a Sudanese semolina cake. Here is a quick recipe you can make in minutes.

Prep Time 15 minutes    Bake Time 45 minutes


1 cup semolina flour
1 cup yogurt
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 beaten eggs
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 lemons or 1/2 lime
1 cinnamon stick
First make the cake:.
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix together flour, sugar, and baking powder very well in large bowl.
Melt butter, add into mixture.
Add yogurt into the mixture, mix well.
Add eggs, mix well again.
Beat mixture for 2 minutes til there are no lumps.
Pour into 9 X 13 inch baking pan brushed with very little oil.
Bake in middle rack of oven for 45 minutes.
While the cake bakes, prepare the syrup:.
Mix 3 cups sugar & one cup water in a pot, put on stove on high heat.12Add in vanilla and cinnamon stick. Stir well.

Squeeze half lemon into mixture, drop the lemon itself in there after squeezing.
Mix well, let boil for 1 minute, remove from heat.
After cake is a golden color (after about 45 mins), remove from oven, and let cool for about 5 minutes.
Pour syrup onto the whole cake, let cool. Cut into as many pieces as you like.
Recipe courtesy of food.com

Support WOE at Anne Neilson Fine Art

During the month of May, Anne Neilson Fine Art in Charlotte, NC is giving a percentage of art sales to With Open Eyes. Anne Neilson has been a long time supporter of the ministry including her Angel series print, Open the Eyes of My Heart.

Help support With Open Eyes while also enjoying the gallery’s grand opening activities May 1 & 2. For more information on Anne Neilson Fine Art visit their website at anneneilsonfineart.com


Anne Herring Neilson began her artistic career with a successful pottery business, Herring Designs, Inc. (1989 to 1997). After a brief interlude spent focused on her growing family, she rekindled her lifelong passion for art in 2003 when she began painting in oils. Neilson quickly became nationally known for her ethereal Angel Series paintings which are inspiring reflections of her faith and flair for color and light. In addition to her popular Angel paintings, Neilson’s repertoire includes dramatic landscapes featuring scenes from her travels.

In October 2012 Neilson self-published Angels In Our Midst, a beautiful art book sharing inspirational and personal stories behind her Angel Series paintings. Currently in its fourth printing, the remarkably popular book sold 10,000 copies in just one year.

As a result of her successful national shows and the growing popularity of her work, Neilson’s art has captured the interest of discerning art collectors. Her works hang in both public and private collections internationally, including those of several celebrities. Anne lives in Charlotte, NC, with her husband and their four children.


Come to the Mountain

This past weekend we had our first women’s retreat in the mountains of North Carolina with 50+ women, including our Kenyan Ministry Partners. The idea for the women’s retreat came from the time spent in Kenya at their ‘Prayer Mountain’, where the women and children of the Namanga community climb up each Tuesday morning to pray. Prayer was the focus of the weekend and the power of time spent with God as we climb our own mountain each day.



Here are a few highlights from the weekend…

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